How do you react when the opposing team scores 3 runs in the 1st inning off you?
Can you pitch when you don’t have your best stuff?
How do you react when a teammate makes an error?
Be honest. It’s tough pitching through some adversity.
It’s frustrating when you are struggling to throw strikes and your shortstop boots an easy double play ball.
But it is also what makes sports great. Your ability to battle through these times are what refines and defines you as a pitcher. Your ability to stay focused and confident will be the driving force behind a successful baseball career no matter what level you are playing at.
So what do you do?
Here is 3 quick tips to help you stay focused and become a mentally tough pitcher.
- Pitch one pitch at a time. Have a pitching plan and stick to it. Figure out whether it is pitch selection or pitch location that is causing you the problems. Making small adjustments is a major factor in being a great pitcher.
- Pre pitch routine. Create and develop a pre pitch routine that you do every time. Start when you step on the pitching rubber. I use the acrostic Game FACE: Focused. Aggressive. Committed. Execute. Put on your game FACE before every pitch.
- Post Pitch Reaction. As soon as you finish your follow through you ought to be reacting to something. It might be covering first, backing up 3rd, fielding a bunt or just getting the ball back from the catcher. You need to know instinctively what you are going to do. What you do here will always positively or negatively impact the next pitch. When you are battling you need to limit the amount of pitches you throw. Don’t let your struggles in the strike zone affect the other responsibilities you have on the field.
Learning to pitch through adversity might be the single greatest strength a pitcher can develop.
College Coaches and Professional Scouts love pitchers who are Warriors on the mound.
Mentally weak pitchers crumble under pressure and adversity. They whine and make excuses.
Mentally strong pitchers thrive under pressure and love the challenge that adversity brings.
Which one are you?